Thursday, August 31, 2006


Everywhere I turn, I have a deadline, be it self-imposed or utterly, totally, intractably real. And there's lots of them. So I've decided the right thing to do is to blog for a bit. What? You expected me to say I had to clean my desk?? That's later, silly.

A friend of mine was asking me what I'd learned while writing the Diff'rent Strokes movie. No, not sitcom trivia and arcana, but about writing. I always do try and figure out what each project has taught me, so I actually had an answer of two very valuable personal lessons: true stories are hard on sooooo many levels AND I don't like to spend all my time working on depressing storylines. Strokes was a departure for me on many levels, and I'm glad to have done it, but it's safe to say that on a personal level, I don't have as much fun writing when I'm dealing with lots and lots of human tragedy. So I can tip you off here and now that the 14 Fabulous Fibs will NOT be one of the darker books you'll read.

I know. I know. Y'all who read my blog are SHOCKED by that. I'll see you all tomorrow when you've recovered....

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oooh. It's all connected.

Like all of you, I'm sure, I'm gearing up for the September 4th showing of Behind the Camera: the Unauthorized Story of Diff'rent Strokes (at 8PM on NBC and written by yours truly). What? You're not. Well forget all this back to school/end of summer stuff. Let's focus on what's REALLY important over Labor Day Weekend -- nostalgia and unbelievably painful stories! Having seen the movie tonight, I'm reminded again of the fact that I really never should complain about anything much career-wise. Or really in general, come to think of it.

I'm also reminded that it was during this project that I attended my very first SCBWI conference, started learning about the world of children's literature, and made the connections that would ultimately have me writing what I'm writing today -- the 14 Fabulous Fibs.

This undoubtedly proves something profound about cycles, luck, timing, and all that good stuff, but I'll leave that for the philosophers... though I understand that Plato reads my blog on a daily basis which, of course, is a name that brings us full circle back to Diff'rent Strokes.

Yes, connections are everywhere... though sometimes we have to tilt our head and squint to see 'em. And since I've been doing that a little too long this evening, I gotta book.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Yo, heave ho!

Tomorrow we finally get to start moving our library into its new home, having cleared space at last. The downside is that we've got some 150+ boxes of deadweight books and a ragtag band of volunteers to move 'em. At least I'm hoping some sort of band shows up, otherwise I'll be back tomorrow as GottaBadBack.

But I liked the pirate-esque title today, because I realize that my year of being a volunteer librarian has made me view this as a chance to, once again, uncover buried treasure. Those books in boxes... last year they made kids laugh, they made kids ask questions, they made me a better writer, they made me a better reader, they made me a volunteering nutcase, they made kids see connections, they helped build community, and those books helped kids learn to read.

So I'm looking forward to unburying some treasure tomorrow. I just wish the treasure was a helluva lot lighter....

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Mighty fine readin'....

The new issue of The Edge of the Forest is up, and once again it's packed with fun kidlit reading. Want reviews? Got 'em. Want in interview with Linda Sue Park (who, I'm pleased to say, likes Fibs!)? You got it. Articles and ruminations and links, too! Who could ask for more?

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Pluto Poem

I have been remiss in participating or even noting Poetry Friday of late.

So today, I present...

by Gregory K.

Poor Pluto.
Got the boot-o.

(For some more Poetry Friday fun check out Jen Robinson's blog or Liz's links at A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy.)

For your procrastinatory pleasure, links to this and other poems here on GottaBook are collected to the right under the headline "The Poems".

If you want to get all my new poems (and only the poems) emailed to you for freeee as they hit the blog, enter your email address in the box below then click subscribe!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A post on (gasp) writing...

I don't normally talk much about craft type stuff, as it's just not my thang here on GottaBook, but someone asked me an interesting question the other day that I thought I'd answer publicly (particularly since I found a great video online that will re-inforce my thoughts!). Basically, someone was asking if I found my screenwriting experience helpful in writing a novel... and if so, how?

Well, it is helpful, if for no other reason than I'm used to writing and plotting complex stories. My picture books, actually, often benefit from the fact that they, like movies, are a visual medium. Also, I'm used to working on a deadline, which I suspect will help me later. But I think what's more interesting to me is how screenplays and novels are very different.

A screenplay isn't truly made to be read. Instead, it's the blueprint for a totally different finished product -- a movie. As a result, choices you make can be impacted by everything from budgetary limitations, what's possible/not possible in special effects, and, when you get into production itself, by what actors are available what days. Also, directors and actors bring a ton to the words... and, much like in the book world, a good editor can fix a badly written scene (even though the originally written scene was shot in full).

At their heart, of course, novels and screenplays have the same goal -- telling a great story. But as forms of writing... well... luckily I stumbled upon this commercial made by Canal Plus that I think sums things up rather nicely.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A search... Haiku?

Those of us addicted to all things about our blogs are occasionally known to discuss how folks have found us. I've posted search Fibs from time to time, just cuz I can. Of course, there's little poetic I can do with three of the search terms that've brought folks here that I find totally without splic (as in, inexplicable):

Places in Brooklyn that keep parties that can hold approximately 300 people

Little children use bar soap to wash your hands while eating bread*

And one that will bring a tear to all my bookseller/librarian pals...

Books where I don't know the title or author and vague idea what it's about

Now, I can only imagine the frustration/confusion for all those folks when they ended up here in GottaBookland (and, in the case of the last one, there was likely already confusion/frustration). However, the next person who enters the following (which I have broken up in three lines as I'm sure was the intent of the first searcher who got here this way) will get a good answer. Haiku:

Some five syllables
Another seven go here
Finish with five more

I'm off to find papers lost on the desk o'plenty, so I gotta book and do a real search. Until then, tip o' the cap to the algorithm designers at Google, MSN, and Yahoo for keeping us all on our toes....

* TWICE!!!!!

Monday, August 21, 2006


Wow! The Disco Mermaids are having a contest with a great prize: a signed copy of the full dePaola Code. Signed by whom, you ask? Tomie dePaola AND all three Mermaids!

Follow this link for all the details.

Whew (pt. 2)

A whirlwind weekend of running hither and thither is now done. For the record, the appetizers were better in thither, but the weather in hither was divine. In my absence, I see that Fuse #8 returned and immediately posted reviews and news and links. I thought the whole point of vacation was that you could use it as an excuse to take a couple days to "ease back in" to normal.

On this end, the week will consist of our first plaintive attempts to dive back into the school library situation. When last we left our 10,000 books, they were packed up in boxes and moved to the grounds of our new location.... However, we didn't have access to what will be their new home, so they're in storage. Sigh. Feels like we've been moving books for the last 15 months (which, of course, we have). Perhaps I'll return to thither.

I'm more excited about the fact that I see chunks this week. By this, I happen to mean solid chunks of writing time (hereby defined as 3 solid hours or more) not big blocks of meat or anything. Still, chunks have been hard to find this summer, so I'm looking forward to it.

Though I gotta say... my desk is starting to look a little messy.

Friday, August 18, 2006


So, with little time for blogging today (I know. I know. I'll speak to the folks in charge about that), I decided to add blogs to my blogroll (which is over to the right and down (--> and down in semi-rebus format)). Lotta great new blogs I discovered due to the SCBWI Conference and a few I was reading before, too.

Boy, there is such a wealth of information, conversation, and conviviality out there, it's almost mindboggling.

I'm particularly happy to add rhcrayon: The Blog! to the roll (EDIT: now with the link WORKING. Oops. My bad). Not just cuz there are pictures of me there which aren't embarrassing and not just cuz she's incredibly funny and talented, but mostly cuz her kinda semi-blog-coming-out was right here on GottaBook when we passed the laptop around at the Golden Kite lunch. Sure, she was blogging in private before, but I like to think it was after her appearance here that she knew it was time to unmask. Or something like that.

Anyway, my blogroll keeps growing, and one day, perhaps, I'll organize it again. But regardless, I highly recommend y'all go check out some great voices, particularly as I'll be somewhat scarce this weekend. Between the 'roll and the Carnival there's plenty of good stuff, so I've got no problem in saying that I gotta book.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Carnival of Children's Literature number 6, reporting for duty

I was so disorganized that I barely submitted a link to the 6th Carnival of Children's Literature, but I see now that our hostess has gotten the whole thing up early! Go figure.

So, welcome to the latest kidlit carnival, hosted at The Castle of the Immaculate.

Lotta good links I've already visited, plus some new voices (even with a few regulars on summer break). So... whatcha waiting for?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Clicking the day away

One of the great things about blogging is that, as Mother Reader noted in her post today, you see all sorts of cool stuff courtesy of fellow bloggers. I nodded in agreement as I read her post, knowing full well that I was going to pilfer one of her links (which was nicely self-reflexive, as she had used one in her post that she found here!). Anyway, after watching this video of the band OK GO, I can't decide if I want to dance or work out or simply applaud. Well worth a looksee.

Of course, you also run into blogs where folks are working on great ideas of their own. Over at her blog, nrkii (who put some rather hilarious entries in my recent list-making post) is compiling a list of great antagonists from children's literature. I would dub this the antagolist (trademark pending). So go on over and read... and maybe you'll have a contribution or two?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tag. I'm it.

Ya know, you offer someone tech support, and the next thing you know, they're tagging you with a meme. It's so wrong. Wrong, I tell ya. Then again, that same someone did invite me to speak on her blogging panel at the SCBWI Conference and introduce me to fantastic people AND provide me with cookies, so I would actually do far more than mere memery for her. (But Lisa, if you're reading this... you didn't read that!)

One book that changed your life -- Sorry to report, I don't have one. I can't even make an argument for one right now. I'll give this more thought.

Book you have read more than once -- Strange but True Baseball Stories (by Furman Bisher). I read this book so incessantly as a child that a couple years ago when I unpacked it from a box sealed up for decades, I could still turn immediately to the page where a player was referred to as a "retread" (which as a child I had mistakenly read without the second e and with the r and a reversed).

Book you would want on a desert island -- Encyclopedia Britannica, though I gotta ask... why can't I be trapped on a dessert island???

Book that made you laugh -- one book? ONE book????? Fine. Be that way. I'm going with Absolutely, Positively Not by David LaRochelle, though if Lisa hadn't tagged me I mighta gone with her Millicent Min, Girl Genius whose very first sentence made me spit out my coffee in laughter. I did not drink coffee again while reading Millicent and stayed clear of all beverages with Stanford Wong. Wise choice.

Book that made you cry -- Without Feathers by Woody Allen. I literally laughed until I cried... though it was many, many years ago and when I re-read it more recently, I could not remember what, exactly, had gotten me that hysterical.

Book you wish had been written -- Everything Totally Explained in Language You Can Understand Yet Doesn't Take the Magic of Discovery Away.

Book you wish had not been written -- The Official Yougarian Joke Book

Book you're currently reading -- The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

Book you've been meaning to read -- this is an embarrisngly long list. Let's not go there.

I'm not tagging anyone, but if you happen to read this and want to answer the questions, by all means do.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The week in preview.

Thanks, folks, for adding to the list in the post below (and to the folks who emailed me their suggestions but asked for me not to post 'em... awwwww, please can I post 'em?????). I'd like to see that list grow so that I can, uh, re-post it later on a day when I have no original thoughts!

Or maybe I should save this link for a day when I have nothing else to say. But then I wouldn't be sharing, and really, that's just not nice.

This week, I've realized, is the first week this summer that I can devote entirely to writing (and yes, blogging is writing). I have ludicrously big goals, comically egotistical belief that I'll achieve said goals, and an enormously large vat of iced coffee in the fridge. I don't see how I can fail.

Unless... hey, I haven't visited Babble in a few days! I gotta book.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A List -- famous authors and the children's books they'd write

At this year's SCBWI Conference, I was reminded of a list that sprang up at a prior one when, during a panel discussion, an editor said James Joyce instead of William Joyce. Quickly a list was born: adult authors and the kids' books they'd write. Amazingly, I found the original list, and offer up a dozen to get things started....

Faulkner -- My Mother is a Fish Out of Water
Hemingway -- The Old Man and the ABCs.
Hardy -- Near and Far from the Madding Crowd: a Book of Opposites
Beckett -- Learning Patience: Waiting for Godot
Cervantes -- How Windmills Work
Freud -- My Potty Book for Boys
Pirandello -- Six Characters: A Search and Find Book (with 36 flaps!)
Sophocles -- Happy Mother's Day, Oedipus!
Aeschylus -- Orestes, Merry Gentleman (a Christmas story)
Plath -- Your Thumb Instead of an Onion: All About Your Body
Wolfe -- You Can Always Go Home Again
Clancy -- We Spy

Again, that's just a sampling, but I hope y'all will feel free to make this list grow. Sure, we might not end up as long as Jen Robinson's great lists of cool boys and cool girls of children's literature, but ya never know!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

My past catches up to me!

Long before I was a Fibber, I was busy writing, giving birth to various projects for TV and movie screens instead of the page and computer screen. During the excitement of the past weekend, I failed to notice that one of my babies will soon see the light of day. This project was unlike any I'd ever taken on. In a lot of ways, really. And oh my, are there stories to tell, many of which are flooding back to me now.

Sure, lots of kidlit bloggers break news about release dates of the Harry Potter movie or casting on Coraline. But me? Well, I think I'm breaking this news in the kidlitosphere.

So what is this particular project, you ask as you sit on the edge of your seat, the tension almost too much to bear?

Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Diff'rent Strokes!

My favorite thing about that link on IMDB is that the movie already has seven votes, but the darn thing has never aired! Whatchoo talking 'bout, voters? Now, after September 4th (on NBC from 8-10pm) we'll see if the movie can hold that 6.9 rating, but for now I'd take it with a grain of salt.

Perhaps this movie will become a running topic on the blog, if folks are interested, but for now I'm simply announcing da news.

Final SCBWI Conference notes...

Gal darn it... I wrote down quotes at the Conference so I could blog about 'em, so I will do just that, even if it didn't end up being day-of stuff.

Nina Laden, talking about picture books, said "the words are the bones and the pictures are the flesh." Nice image, I thought. Mo Willems had said "if you read a picture book text and can see everything... it's not a good picture book text." It truly is a collaborative medium... more in the sense that the pictures and words must collaborate, not just a writer and illustrator. Editor Elizabeth Van Doren had much to say about PBs, but I wrote down this as kinda a unifying theme in what she thinks helps make a good PB story: a universal experience treated originally. We heard the artistic side of the PB equation talk about what goes into making and designing a lasting picture book. As a writer, it was fantastic to hear that perspective explained so clearly. And did I mention that Jodi Reamer said that the picture book market has improved?

Again, and I do think this is wildy important, we were constantly reminded that publishing is a business. You have to accept that and treat it appropriately. As editor Nancy Siscoe noted, publishers are not patrons of the arts. They DO love what they do, love their books, and are wildly passionate advocates for them. But at the end of the day, there is a bottom line.

Some of that bottom line "stuff" was demystified when agent Edward Necarsulmer IV and editor Mark McVeigh conducted a mock contract negotiation in front of us all. Not only where they hilarious, but the explanations they about what choices have to be made, what processes they go through, and WHY it all happens was something that made much of the business end clear in a way I'd never heard before.

And mixed in with all that information were nuggets of inspiration from countless sources. I think I'll end with two quotes, the first from Paul Fleischman: "Doubt is to writers what headwinds are to cyclists." You have to believe in what you're doing, and you truly do have to love it. And finally, the plucky Jane Yolen delivered the closing speech (and, it was noted, had been the keynote at the very first SCBWI Conference). As she has 287 books published, she felt she was in position to offer some useful observations in the form of 10 Rules for Writing Success. Trust me, everyone listened!

Her speech was the perfect conclusion to the Conference, because she noted that we can talk craft, analyze, research, join the community and so much more, but the one thing we all need to do to have a chance at success could be summed up by her very first Rule:

Write the damn book.

In fact, I gotta book, since that is exactly what I need to go do.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Back to normalcy, such as it is

I sat down at 8:30 this morning with my yellow pad and started taking notes about what the speaker in front of me was saying. I wrote "you're my vehicle baby. I'll take you anywhere you want to go." I had trouble applying that to my writing life, though I suppose one could say the blank page was my vehicle. But the point is I realized that I was no longer conferencing but was listening to the radio as I ran errands. Sigh.

Later today or tomorrow, I'll go back through some of the notes I took to post here but never had time to do. For now, though, I wanted to give a shout out to the many folks I met at the Conference who said they'd head over and read my blog. Hi!

As I noted many times at the Conference, if you simply come to my blog today, you can't imagine how I got a book deal in large part cuz of this place. Don't get me wrong: those conference entries were charming and witty and chock full o' utterly useless stuff... but ya, there's nothing remarkable about them. And while this place has turned into a lovely community, that's true of so many other blogs out there.

The excitement on this blog really relates to pure Fibbishness, so I wanted to point to the links over to the right (inspired by illustrators this weekend, I insert a clever graphic: ---->). The links under The Fibs, particularly the posts The Fib, More Fibbery and Fibs are Fab, are the hubs of the excitement... and where nearly 1,000 Fibs reside in the comments. The Oddaptations and poems linked on the right are also something that I point people to, but again... Fibbery is the answer to just what the heck turned a sleepy kidlit blog into a book deal. Well, that and my dashing cyber looks. And some bribes.

I must say I'm also looking forward to checking out a bunch of new blogs myself, but for now, I gotta catch up on four days worth of regular life....

Monday, August 07, 2006

Blogging the SCBWI Summer Conference (pt. 6)

It's over. Done. Fini. I am officially home. If I had to pick a single word to use to describe the Conference, I'd fail. But me? I'd say "tired." Like bone-weary tired.

I don't think I can sum up all the seminars and sessions and information since the last time I tried. We all got to watch a mock negotiation between an agent and editor that demystified they "whys" of contracts and of the process an editor goes through to acquire a manuscript. We heard market info and details that truly let you understand the business (and SCBWI members will get a detailed market report in mid-Aug, I believe, on the website).

Oh yeah... and I spoke at Lisa Yee's blogging panel (along with the funny, eloquent Disco Mermaids) and lived to tell about it. Better than that, it was a lot of fun. Mine is a story that does give a fine example of why one might bother to blog, so it was a hoot to share.

I know I keep mentioning this, but to me it's the community that exists at the Conference -- 800 people who share a passionate interest -- that makes it such a remarkable experience, and it's hard to encapsulate what the weekend was like. I guess I can just say that it was great for me to meet so many new friends, see old friends, and remember that writing doesn't have to be such a lonely journey.

I hope to find some more good quotes from the various panels tomorrow, but I've simply GottaSleep. G'night, y'all.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Blogging the SCBWI Summer Conference (pt. 5)

Well, we're waiting for dessert here at the Golden Kite luncheon.,. and by we I mean about 800 of us, but more specifically, at my table, I'm talking fellow bloggers The Disco Mermaids (again, co-winners of the costume contest at the big party) and Don Tate. So what else should we do but pull out a laptop and have a little group blog love! We're also gonna introduce a few new folks to the wonderful world of blogging. What will happen? I don't know!!!!

From Don Tate: Hot Man of Children's literature ( I forget which one): Hello to all of you in kid-lit land. Wish you were here. Knew I couldn't make it a full four days with out blogging.

Maria P.J. having a group blog blast here

This party is so hot that I keep meeting party crashers! 'Nuff said. --Rita Crayon Huang

This is so cool... I mean, really COOL. It's freezing in here. Note to self, bring a sweater next time!!! --Monique Ruiz

If this table could talk, it would definitely say, "What a wild lunching group." Thank you for letting me join you. Dorrie Newton

It's DiscoMermaid Evie here...great people, lots o' alcohol and Jay in drag. Doesn't get any better than this! God, I love this conference!!! Bloggy Peace to y'all.

DiscoMermaid Jay: This is like a BlogWarp, Greg. I'm freakin' out, man! I can't believe how much fun this weekend has been. Getting to hang with fellow bloggers like Greg and Don, and non-(but maybe future-)bloggers. Okay, I gotta go, some guy's trying to take my dessert away and I've gotta fork with his name on it...

DiscoMermaid Robin: Wow! Group blogging! It's like hot tubbing with your closest friends...only less wet and more sober.

Let me just say one word to sum up this wonderful experience...Tacone. And yes, it is what you're thinking--a taco in a cone!!!! And that's what we are all hungrily eating at the Golden Kite Luncheon (just kidding--it's chicken). Seriously, this has been the ultimate party! What a blast!--Leslie Muir

And I'm back. I'd note that the last comment is from someone who I'd only known from online. Leslie's in my fantastic online critique group and won an SCBWI Grant which she used to come out here for her first Summer Conference.

I think what you see is that the Conference is great fun, besides being a remarkable place to learn, talk craft, admire amazing talent, and drink really horrible coffee.

You also didn't notice a long lapse here, but we have taken breaks for awards. Last up was the fantastically talented (and nice) David LaRochelle who delivered a touching and funny speech as he accepted his Sid Fleishman Humor Award for Absolutely Postively Not. What a treat to be here and see him get that richly deserved honor.

More awards coming up, so I gotta book.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Blogging the SCBWI Summer Conference (pt. 4)

Ya know, it's just... it's like... it's not like starstruck or anything, but I am up in the lobby here, about to go to the art exhibit (where, in years past, I've said "holy smokes, I am surrounded by people who can draw like nobody's business. My stick figures don't even look like stick figures.") and everywhere I look there are folks whose names I recognize cuz they write or edit or illustrate books I think are extraordinary. And you can talk to them, even.

Ya, I know. Helpful to folks who aren't here. But the point is that there's little else I can do to convey that aspect of the Conference. It's really what makes this such a singular event, I think.

The big topic of conversation here, of course, is "what will the Disco Mermaids wear to the big party tonight. Now, if they weren't charming, funny, and talented, no one would likely care as much. But they I'm not joking when I say that folks are curious.

Also, since Fuse #8 and Mother Reader have shared Mo Willems moments, I feel that I have to share mine. In a (great) session on picturebooks, he actually singled me out. Yes, he did. To hold up something. Not of mine, of course, but hey... I was INVOLVED, I tell ya!

Art to see, a party to attend, so clearly I gotta book. More tomorrow, including a report on the "Why Bother to Blog" panel.

Blogging the SCBWI Summer Conference (pt. 3)

How did you start your morning? Was it, by any chance, hearing a grown man say "This pig just came to me one day" when hearing the story of how the book Punk Farm began? No? Well, those of us lucky enough to be up and listenting to Jarrett J. Krosoczka here at the SCBWI Conference got to hear that and much more. What's always fascinated me about hearing the keynote speeches at these conferences is how much you end up "rooting for" the speaker. They're all incredibly talented, of course, but there's always a tremendous sense of humanity. You think "damn, everyone is sooooo nice here!" And, well, they are. To top the speech off, he showed a hilarious film about the process of making a picture book, culminating with the joy of actually getting it. Seeing someone paint as "Eye of the Tiger" plays... excellent.

Again, "ideas" was a key theme here. Caronline Cooney echoed the thought about the question "where do you get your ideas?" that "ideas are the easy part... but the better question is what do you do with them once you have them?" She gave a great primer on how she works through an idea, how she makes choices in plotting and character.

Plus, she ended with a quote I think any writer will appreciate, and with which I'll end this post:

"I love writing... except when it's really hard and I hate it."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Blogging the SCBWI Summer Conference (pt. 2)

I write to you from poolside here at in Century City. I cannot see a cloud, there's a lovely breeze, and the wireless is easy. It's a hard job being your correspondent, but someone's gotta do it.

There's been a lotta talk about "ideas" today. Mo Willems noted that ideas are the easy part... but not all ideas can be fed and nurtured to become something worthy. Jacqueline Woodson said that characters come to her and tell her stuff and she writes it down and it doesn't always make sense... but she knows it will eventually. And Elise Primavera spoke of NOT telling everyone your "big idea" right when you have it, as you'll get overloaded with feedback and lose what was special about it.

Of particular interest to me and many o' my picture book pals was the almost throwaway comment by agent Jodi Reamer that the picture book market has really improved. Yes, she really said that.

School visits, editors, writing tips, marketing ideas... it's flying all around. As are folks I only know from the blogosphere/online. Very fun. Oh, and jokes.

I'd also note that this year, I'm one of the 16% of attendees who are male. This means little, of course, except when restroom breaks are needed. Then it's swell.

Time to watch the sunset, then ead to a wine and cheese reception. I know. I know. The things I have to go through....

Blogging the SCBWI Summer Conference (pt. 1)

Is this thing on?

Cool. Wireless in the lobby lets me dash on for a fast post.

What can you say about a morning that includes old friends, new friends, Jacqueline Woodson AND Mo Willems? how about "rocking!"

Quick highlights, since that's all there's time for, include Jacqueline Woodson's comment about herself when she's writing: "I work hard at not having doubt." Entertaining, inspiring, and thought provoking, she was a great leadoff speaker.

And it turns out she and Mo Willems know each other. Who knew? He was funny, as expected, as well as telling a pretty amazing life story to date. The highlight, I think, is when he lead the approximately 800 of us in a "draw the pigeon" exercise. Mine is available to view if you stop by and ask.

More as time allows, but there's another speaker about to go on, so I gotta book.

Oddaptation: Hop on Pop

Ahhh, how does one Oddapt a classic book full of... well... full of lots of words? If you check the Oddaptation links to the right, you'll see that everything else I've posted so far has been a book with at least a modicum of plot. But the good Dr. throws a curve with this perennial. Still, I think I found a few key elements of the book -- both "plot" and style -- and added the needed point of view to make this seem like an Oddaptation to me. And since it's my word... heck, yeah! As always, I'd love to hear your suggestions for other candidates....

by Dr. Seuss
Oddaptation by Gregory K.

What book’s tot got?

There’s not a plot.

Pop’s used and bruised.

Hey, this Pop is not amused!

This book’s so slow.

More rhymes to go.

My bum’s gone numb!

Read it again? Go ask your mum.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Last minute frenzy AND a report on a great evening...

I'm busily getting things ready to survive the four day absence from my desk (ya, big crisis, I know). Hey... maybe I'll put something up for Poetry Friday before I sleep? I wouldn't bother y'all with this, but I wanted to note that (at least) one GottaBook reader was at the King/Irving/Rowling evening and has blogged about it.

Check out NRKII's post right here!!! Wish I coulda been there....

Oooh. Wireless!

So, they (and in this case that means the person who answered the phone) tell me that there's a wireless network in the lobby of the hotel where the SCBWI Conference is. I'm thinking I might try and blog the Conference a wee bit for y'all who aren't coming this year. Might even be able to snag some special guests, I'd think. I contemplate this mostly cuz there simply isn't enough ELSE to do in the next four days. Still, many lunches and breaks and evening drinks take place up where they claim that network is. Hmmm. Verrrrrry interesting.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cure for what's buggin' me...

Flies, I tell ya. FLIES! I came home today to find five of them gathered in what I believe was a book club meeting at the kitchen sink. I'm not sure how the fly population in GottaLand went from zero to five, but so be it. Now, near as I could tell, they were analyzing the classic A Fly Went By and when they disagreed with my assessment of both the role of the pig AND my theory that the cat was a Horcrux, I took action, grabbing a kitchen towel and remarkably killing four of them within a minute. The fifth continued to "went by" me quite often. Pesky little devil.

But that's not the cure. The cure really came yesterday and had nothing to do with insects. But ya see, I have been bugged by the fact that I've had no time to write much poetry beyond Fibs of late. Not that I'm complaining about having a lot to write -- it's WONDERFUL -- but I've been feeling like something was missing from my writing routine. Then voila, yesterday I got an honorable mention in the W.I.N. contest. AND that honor came from the incredibly talented judge, Sonya Sones. AND FoGB Susan Taylor Brown got TWO mentions in the contest (poetry AND picture book), as did a member of my remarkably, uniformly talented online critique group.

Anyway, it was a nice little jolt to remind me that I should find the time to write the fun stuff I love... and positive jolts are always better than the negative.

Now I've got a blank piece of paper in front of me, so I gotta book.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A bit more Fibbishness

I'm gonna toss up a search Fib (and I see that Fuse #8 also was talking search terms today), but before I do, I wanted to remind folks about The Fib Review. If you like writing Fibs, check out the Review and see if you, like a couple other GottaBook readers, might not send in your best work and see it collected.

As for the search Fib, well, I won't argue that this one is poetry, necessarily, but the middle sequence all came within a week or each other. What, precisely, these folks were looking for I cannot say, but apparently it's a scalable thing!

Big tici
Really big tici
Pushups emoticon baby.